John Gagliardi, who became the winningest football coach in NCAA history at Division III St. John's (Minn.) using an off-beat approach that included no practicing if there were too many gnats, announced Monday he was retiring after 60 seasons.
Gagliardi, 86, leaves with a career coaching record of 489-138-11. He eclipsed Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson's all-divisions victories record of 408 in 2003 with a win over Bethel.
Gagliardi won four national championships with an unconventional approach that was incorporated by Minnesota Vikings' Coach Bud Grant. Two of Grant's sons played for Gagliardi.
"It's unbelievable that I could make a living with a career in a game that is so popular and is such a huge business," Gagliardi told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Monday after announcing his retirement. "To be a small part of that has just been wonderful."
Gagliardi was famous for his list of "no rules." St. John's did not allow tackling during practice and did not have team captains or cheerleaders. Gagliardi never used a whistle and his players had strict orders to call him "John" instead of "coach."